People Ripping Bands Off

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Boner, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Boner

    Boner New Member

    What do you think about these people, that go around charging the earth for helping bands out as deps?

    In my experience many of them are nowhere near as good as they think they are and for some reason think that just because they go to the 'Royal Northern' or Salford that they are professionals.

    There are a few at the moment that are 'freelance' i.e not commited to any band and are even ripping off lower section bands.

    We recently had a player who spent most of the concert 'lost', hardly played a note and then wanted sixty quid. You can imagine where he was told to go! By contrast we had one of the movements most respected and experienced players charging absolutely nothing.

    Check your dictionaries guys. The words 'professional' and 'student' do not mean the same thing. When you're turning down the Halle to go and play in a brass band then you can start sending an invoice.

    I think that it's about time that bands became more prepared when asking guest players. The idea of charging a 'fee' is nonsense. The bands should pay a reasonable amount in expenses and that's it. It's not always necessary to book someone who is wanting £40-£100 for hitting a tambourine and cymbal.

    I think we should start freezing these people out of the system. Let them play in their own bands but don't ask them to play in yours unless they agree a reasonable amount beforehand. Have a mutual arrangement between bands maybe..

    As far as my band is concerned, the gravy train is over. The ones that have fleeced us in the past won't be getting asked again and the others will be told what to expect before they play a note.
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy New Member

    Forty to a hundred pounds just to hit a tambourine or a cymbal!!!?? blimey thats outrageous!!! after all, we all know any fool can do that.
  3. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Wow, please generalise more... :-?

    I do see what you mean, but maybe not the best to tarnish names like that.
    Can I point out that the people who do this are definately in a minority at salford.
  4. Charmed

    Charmed Active Member

    I think a lot will agree with you. However, in theory, yes. In practice, not likely to happen. If you're a band that just cannot fill a seat with a regular player, sometimes you just have to pay to have this seat covered at a concert/contest. And the fact that quite a few bands pay retainers now to their regular players, never mind borrowed players, well that sets the precident, doesn't it?

    Supply and Demand? As is true with most things in life, the rarer it is, the more you have to pay for it. And sometimes you just can't 'make do'. As frustrating as it is, this is how it is nowadays. But in the past, we have tried to manage without, rather than paying, but it all depends on the standard you want to maintain.
  5. starperformer

    starperformer Member

    You can't exactly blame these guys for taking what they can get. It'll turn out to be good practice for them, when they go on to try and eke out some sort of an existence as a pro musician.

    More incentive to fill seats with committed players in the first place?
  6. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I agree with what Aidan says, not all people should be tarred with the same brush.

    Another consideration is this. Surely a band looking for a deputy for an engagement should agree upfront and beforehand what is expected, and what is on offer for meeting that expectation. Doing this clarifies things and almost eliminates any possible confusion. The player knows what he/she is expected to do in terms of performance and playing, and they then know what they will receive for so doing.

    Seems a sensible thing to discuss before you 'hire' someone to me.

    I also believe that many bands are perhaps too haphazzard, and non-business savvy when dealing with commercial matters such as this. We all work hard to get the money into the band coffers, but seem not to have appropriate standards and demands on spending it on certain items.
  7. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Agreed with John, its the bands job to sort out fees before people have done the concert / contest. You cant always rely on peoples good nature to give up their time for a few pints and some crisps.
  8. brittm

    brittm Member

    I wouldn't expect a plasterer to skim a wall for me for nothing, however, I would agree the price before hand. If you avoid the question of the fee altogether, there is a fair chance of bad feeling at the end of the night.

    Therefore: agree with the dep whether a fee will be paid and how much the fee will be.

    I don't believe you can get ripped off if you've made an agreement in advance and as for booking bad deps, there's no excuse. For £60 - £100 a night you can get pretty much anyone you'd care to mention.
  9. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    To an extent I agree with you John, but having spent countless (and thankless) hours on the phone myself trying to put together a band if someone says "yes" then its very tempting to say "great I'll see you there" and put the phone down before they change their mind. The whole movement relies on the good nature of a lot of people to function as it does, so starting to engage in talks about the scope of depping duties might be seen as a little odd to some people. Sensible idea, but perhaps not that practical in truth.

    I think the original post was more to do with people being unprofessional than anything else. The sweeping generalisation is unfortunate, and in my experiance not that true. I can think of several players who are / have played at the very top level who are happy to have a post concert pint or will only take a small donation to cover their expenses, and call it quits at that .

    Equally there are those who think they're gods gift and will charge accordingly, even if they make a complete dogs dinner of the concert. I never minded paying a premium for someone really good who lifted the standard of the band during the job. I did mind paying anything for someone who turns up with a chip on their shoulder, expects their music to be sorted out, sits through the concert looking like a wet weekend, moans about the music, plays too loud, says things like "well in my band we play this much faster", etc etc. Generally this is an attitude of people who think they are good (and not necessarily from the just the top section only) but its just a player with an attitude problem. TBH the band would've been better getting a "lesser" player who tries to play to the best of their ability.

    I'm reminded about an incident years ago now, where we had a guest sop player for a large concert. This guy had been - and still was - one of the best soppists in the country he turned up for the pre-concert rehearsal in a DJ (he refused to wear our uniform), he refused to play with the band during the rehearsal - even when we were rehearsing his solo item, he expected someone else to sort out and put his music on his stand, and then he spent the whole concert looking like his dog had just died. To cap it all he stood up to play his solo and cocked that up too. In short he was a nightmare and a liability. Afterwards for his fee he wanted £90 - £5 more than we'd just raised in our raffle (as I say it was a while ago). He was told to **** off (politely, as I wasn't band manager at the time :oops: ) and needless to say he never came near us again.

    No amout of pre-concert wrangling would've changed the fact that he was there for one thing alone - to get as much cash as he could get away with. He had no interest in playing well (as he could've undoubtedly done) or any thought for a realistic financial fee given the circumstances. In short he was unprofessional to a level which thankfully I have never seen since.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  10. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    Don't problems like this solve themselves? I guess that if a dep player acts so unprofessionally with all the bands he deps for, he would soon get a bad reputation and nobody would ask him again...?
  11. brittm

    brittm Member

    I'm new to all this tmp thing (more of a 4br man previously), but I'd have thought given the numbers of players available across the country, a simple online register of players with information such as brief biography, e-mail address and home town would be a useful database. (Oh! doesn't that describe the Tmp database).

    Going a little further you could add a feedback rating against deps, meaning that over time you could pretty much guarantee a good dep!

    Ahh simple yet effective....
  12. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    That might be far as I'm aware he doesn't play anymore....;)
  13. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    There's already a deputies database at Although tMP usually comes up trumps when a band needs one!
  14. megasop2000

    megasop2000 New Member

    Exactly, if bands are willing to pay this kind of money then people will continue to charge it. End of story!!
    As for payment... I don’t think you need to get written contracts etc. but you should always sort out before hand what is expected from both band and player with regards to expenses, rehearsals etc. That way there are no surprises and every one is happy.

    As for bad deps, one of the main reasons bands will pay more money is to ensure a quality player in a seat. The last thing you need to be worrying about is if your dep can play the part!! Use players you know, or who have been recommended to you and try and get them down to at least one rehearsal, even if its just to play through a few pieces. If they are charging a large fee... insist they come to at least one rehearsal.

    At the end of the day, a dep who charges the earth or plays badly (or both) will not get invited back and wont get recommended by anyone. Like wise, a band who asks you to travel half way across the country for a contest and then offers you no kind of travelling expenses will soon find it very hard to find deps.

    ok, rant over!!

  15. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    My concern is that maybe bands who finance deps are not aware of the current rates for hiring them. The other scenario is when a professional loses income for playing with a band and requires compensation to make up. How many bands actually ask for proof in this situation? I've provided a link below to the Musician's Union Site for in depth browsing.
  16. megasop2000

    megasop2000 New Member

    Current MU National Gig rates - CLICK HERE
    Basicly £53 for 2 hours.

  17. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Actually Dave you are totally right there... we do have a deputy system that is essentiall ready to go - but I wanted to ensure that everything was fully functional before we launched it. It will eventually incorporate some of the suggestions I see on various threads on tMP i.e. a feedback and deputy rating system so bands who use deps can rate them on how they actually did. It would of course need detailed monitoring and control as it could be open to abuse, but it would be a fantastic resource.

    I will consider launching what we call our tMP DepSys even though it is not quite as complete and ready as I had wanted it.
  18. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    Many moons back, when I was 17 I gave up banding full time, as I wanted to work on other styles of playing (jazz and orchestral) in pursuit of a professional career. After I left the band I was regularly asked to go and do gigs with the same band and many others at short notice, and I never had problems with bands in regards to fees as we worked a fee prior to the engagement, depending on whether I was playing section cornet/principal cornet/soprano etc. There were plenty of people in the area who would probably have done the gigs for free, but I got called on because bands knew I could do the job. If had messed, I wouldn't have got the work. I think it is wrong to say that players asking for a fee are often worse than those who would do it for free, as those who ask for a fee and can't play the gig properly don't (or at least shouldn't) get asked again.

    However, if the band are short of a player for a contest or concert and the decide it is necessary to fill the spot with a dep, the band should be up front and suggest a reasonable fee in advance. If the player in question is a music student, or such like, then I think it is only fair to offer Musicians Union rates. Music students are often taking gigs to try and make enough money to live on whilst at college, and if bands want to keep talented young players involved in the brass band movement whilst they are going through training to be professionals then the bands should pay for their services. Money whilst at college doesn't grow on trees and the expense and time of travelling to a bands rehearsals and gigs as a dep when you already have a busy music schedule at college should be compensated for.

    Often players who have been through college and are already making a reasonable living professionally from music will offer to do gigs for a pint or expenses as a way to say thanks to the brass band world for starting them off on their journey, but as a part of this the bands should be willing to help out the professionals of the future (who may well come back in 5 years time and dep for a pint and a packet of salt and vinegar!).
  19. brittm

    brittm Member

    Nail on the head Adrian, well put....
  20. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I understand what you're saying, Aidan, but someone who holds themselves out as a competent dep who is not does not deserve to get paid, regardless of their student status. There are standards for who can join the musicians unions, and for a reason.

    I suggest that bands who are hiring deps require (and check) references, just as any other employer would do. If someone expects to get paid, they should have at least some sort of track record.